If you’re driving a car, and you want to change direction, what is the most essential thing you need to make that happen? If you had to pick one element, one crucial thing to make changing direction possible — what would that thing be?

Your first thought might very well be ‘a steering wheel.’ And sure, that’s pretty important — even essential — but it too is rendered useless without this quintessentially crucial element that technically is not even a physical part of the car.

The most essential thing we need, above all else, is movement. You cannot change the direction of an automobile that is not in motion. It’s an impossibility (unless, I supposed, it gets hit and drug by a Mac truck, or drops down a sink hole — but even still, in such examples, the car is now in motion).

This is a profound lesson for those of us who feel like we need a change in our lives. Whether you feel the need to make a career change, a life change, or just change rooms to go to bed.  We can pretend we’re taking action by looking at job boards or dreaming on Zillow, or talking about going to bed, but are you really in motion? Maybe, but often it doesn’t result in change. It’s akin to a turning the wheel of your car in the driveway. The engine might be running, but the car is still in park.

In what way do you need to be in motion? A career change might involve informational interviewing or taking a class in a subject for an industry or job you’re considering moving to.  Or driving around neighborhoods or creating budgets and pro/con lists about what you want and need in the next house. What about your current job? Are you frustrated, bored, annoyed or stressed? Sure, you can complain, but that’s just turning the wheel with the car in park.  What can you do? How can you be in motion? Is there a courageous conversation to be had, a class to be taken, a promotion to go for, or a career change to embark upon?

Whatever change you want to make, you can only daydream or gripe for so long if you want it to really happen. How can you make some movement in the direction you want to go? Even a small start is better than nothing. You might be surprised at the clarity you find.

So get moving.